Satire English-language Telenovela Gets Into The Dirt of Power
By Elia Esparza
When Univision aired the hit Mexican soap Ellas son la alegria del hogar in 2010, it was no surprise that an English version would follow suit in the same way the Colombian Betty la fea (Ugly Betty) made it to a U.S. English language network. Lifetime’s Devious Maids is a devilishly fun spoof of the Spanish version full of exaggerated twists, turns, sex, murder, blackmail, and pure intrigue.
Lifetime will premiere its highly-anticipated new drama Devious Maids, executive produced by Eva Longoria (Desperate Housewives) and Marc Cherry (Desperate Housewives), on Sunday, June 23, at 10PM ET/PT. The ensemble all-star cast, Ana Ortiz (Ugly Betty), Dania Ramirez (Entourage), Roselyn Sanchez (Without a Trace), Edy Ganem (Livin’ Loud) and Judy Reyes (Scrubs), portray five maids with ambition and dreams of their own while working for the rich and famous in Beverly Hills.
Devious Maids follows the lives of five maids who each hold their own set of secrets, ambitions and dreams while they work for the rich and famous in Beverly Hills. But in the course of doing their jobs these Devious Maids must also deal with the murder and mayhem that collides in the mansion of Beverly Hills’ wealthiest and most powerful families. Class warfare has never been as fun and dirty as it is in the tony enclave where the staff is as clever, witty, and outrageous and downright devilish, as their employers. Whoever holds the dirt holds the power, and before the season is over, illicit affairs will be revealed and deep dark secrets exposed as we learn the sordid details behind a shocking murder of a beloved housemaid.
The 13-episode series centers on a close-knit group of maids who are bonded together by their jobs, life struggles and the melodramatic “upstairs-downstairs” universe that engulfs their employers. Rosie (Ramirez), a widow who left her son back in Mexico when her husband died, works as the maid and nanny for a pair of self-absorbed and successful actors, Peri and Spence Westmore (Mariana Klaveno, True Blood, and Grant Show, Swing Town). Aspiring singer Carmen (Sanchez), hopes that her pop star employer Alejandro (Matt Cedeno, Days of Our Lives) can help jump-start her career, but Odessa (Melinda Paige Hamilton, Mad Men), his very loyal housekeeper and her boss, will stop at nothing to stand in her way. Zoila (Reyes) is the senior maid for Genevieve Delatour (Susan Lucci, All My Children), a co-dependent, emotionally unstable wealthy woman. She works alongside her teen daughter Valentina (Ganem), who has a crush on Genevieve’s handsome son, Remi (Drew Van Acker, Pretty Little Liars).
In the series premiere, the women turn to one another for support when their friend and fellow maid Flora (Paula Garces, CSI Miami) is brutally murdered at the home of her employers, Evelyn and Adrian Powell (Rebecca Wisocky, American Horror Story, and Tom Irwin, Grey’s Anatomy), at one of the largest society events of the year. Meanwhile, newcomer Marisol (Ortiz) is hired to clean the home of Taylor and Michael Stappord (Brianna Brown, Homeland, and Brett Cullen, Damages), a newlywed couple with a complicated love history. But Marisol has ulterior motives and when someone she loves becomes wrapped up in Flora’s murder, she goes undercover to learn the truth.
No sooner had the Devious Maids premiere date been announced when social media amongst Latinos, lit up like a Mexican Christmas tree!
The Social Media comments posted ranged from “Not more roles for Latina maids!” to “Why are Latinos always in roles of maids, drug dealers or gardeners?” In the instance of Devious Maids, I for one am happy that the show employs five talented Latinas and a few Latinos in co-starring roles on a TV series. Let’s see how Longoria does as the show runner and, as show runner, she is holding tremendous power with the direction the series takes.That’s huge. And, let us not forget, it is a satire… a spoof of crazy lives of the rich and their working domestics. And, there are a lot of Latinos working in Beverly Hills!
It is always exciting to read about everything Longoria is doing to break the Hollywood glass ceiling. Kudos to this amazing woman for using her celebrity and talent power to help bring Latinos to the mainstream. Longoria said in a recent interview that “maids were a reality in Beverly Hills and many of them are Latinas.” I know this to be a fact from my own personal experience of once working for a Spanish TV titan. The domestic help took great pride in their jobs and the books they could write from the crap they witnessed and bad treatment they were sometimes received. But, they never complained, most of them carried American Express cards, sent their kids to top universities and never once complained. They loved their jobs, and who wouldn’t? Back in the late 80’s they were making $60K and up per year, had medical benefits and a whole bunch of perks.
Let’s give Devious Maids a chance. Let’s watch it with an open mind– it is a satire– after all! I for one can’t wait for the rest of America to see how ridiculous and appalling some treatment of domestic help is. And, I can’t wait for some employers to watch themselves and just maybe… have a better understanding of just how much their Devious Maids are bearing witness to… their imperfect lives as they are being lived out in the most plastic city in the world– Beverly Hills!
Beverly Hills rich folk would simply fall apart without the help of their Devious Maids!